The martyrdom of Saint Agnes


Saint Agnes:  I was a child, it is true. I have always remained a child in the perception of God, because regardless of age, people depart from God when it seems to them that they are dependent upon themselves. I never succumbed to that illusion, and I deeply believed and placed my trust in God. Jesus remained my chosen One, although it is rather He who chose me, so I may testify about His love. Do you think that I alone would have been able to suffer death by martyrdom for Him? No… no man is able to do so, if God does not give him this grace. Of course, that this is not easy even then, but God miraculously fortifies and adds strength in such a way that man, if only he endures the growing concerns and fear within him, will rest in the Lord gently and softly, because the Savior never abandons those who put their trust in Him alone.

I trusted, I believed that only He alone can make me happy, and the Holy Spirit send down upon me His gifts, to arm me with faith and bravery. I was not stronger than the other girls, I was not better than them at all. Only I trusted Him so much and I believed with joy in His Resurrection that the Lord was pleased with my trust and gave me to suffer for His Name. It is a great honor and I do not owe this grace to anything, but only to His great love for me.  Oh…, when you feel that God loves you, you know yourself, man becomes capable of anything for this wonderful God, who made a sacrifice of Himself for our salvation.

Is there anything greater in life than the achievement of salvation? If there was something greater, would God have agreed to be mortified so much? There is nothing greater, and thus I was not looking for anything beside the salvation of the soul. That was my main and only goal. Oh, all the luxuries and lavish life would have been torture for me. How much harder it is to fight off daily the attacks of the evil spirit and to be tempted with savoring the magnificence of the world. I did not want this world; I did not want to be detached from my Savior. Abiding by Him was causing me joy, and enjoying myself in the world would have taken away from me this grace of offering myself to Him. I knew that I could not do this, certainly for Him, but also to myself. For the sake of my dignity as a child of God, I could not go to the world of luxuries and vanity, where will be praised the beauty of the human body, and not the beauty of God. God alone knew how much suffering would await me in this world and He permitted me to suffer for Him, in order to join all the faster with Him. If one looks in this way at these events, one can say that God, in his great goodness, has cut short my torments and me allowed to suffer death by martyrdom and to be taken to Him, still in my early youth. How many graces I have received from God, when now I see it even more clearly and visibly, my heart is overfilled with such enormous gratitude.

After completing my 13th year of life, I have been summoned to the prefect so that I could see better how my future life would look like. Agnes, everything there was so nice that I was filled with fear that I could take part in these wonders, which really are the excesses and vanities of the world. Yet, I was frightened that Satan could easily deceive me if I remained there, so my decision was only reinforced within me and my resolve to remain faithful my only Spouse. I know that you wonder what I mean. It was not so, that I was considering the possibility of breaking the vow, never. However, at the prompting of my parents, I experienced enormous difficulties. I was sorry to leave them, and inside I felt that my time was coming to an end. But could I not choose the happiness of my parents instead of God, because what is happiness, if not eternal happiness in connection with God, so how could I give them happiness by sacrificing myself for them? No, only God can make them happy, and if He likes my sacrifice, He will make them happy even more. Thus, watching all these wonders only fortified me in the decision that I have never questioned; even though great doubts came over me, I never gave in to them.

Satan deceived me in multiple ways. First, he wanted to get close to me through flattery. Then he tried to bribe me. Then he set before my eyes the image of my heartbroken and unhappy parents who suffer so much because of me; how ungrateful I am by showing them a lack of obedience, because they have sacrificed their life for me, and I only think about myself. And finally he started to frighten me with the most brutal torments. When I was already on the verge of exhaustion, I saw the sweet Face of Jesus, and then all the fears and concerns melted away from me. I knew already that I will never give up because He loves me, He is with me, and everything that He desires will bring glory and blessing.

Only suffering… oh Agnes, if you knew how happy I am now, what a beautiful crown of glory all the martyrs receive, I would not give up my martyrdom for anything. These were moments of great suffering and fear, but the thought of Jesus did not leave me, that I am suffering martyrdom for Him and this is the greatest honor for a Christian. I wished to die so and God fulfilled my desire. As if that was not enough, at the moment of my death, God still testified about His love for me, strengthening me through signs; and, thanks to that, arousing faith in all those who witnessed these events [1]. How great a testimony I bore with my existence, so that God may be recognized and His holy Name may be known in the whole world. From up here, after one can see exactly how many souls were later nourished by this hope, which God deigned to show through my martyrdom. (…) pray for faith, because then everything else is much easier. In everything, you are guided according to this one thought, this one desire, the desire to save your soul in Jesus.

… if you want, I will teach you my favorite prayer:

Jesus, alive and real, hidden in the white Host,
in front of You I stand in my littleness,
so you may deign to bless my thoughts and deeds
and make me holy in the manner of the Mother of Love.

I am Yours forever, I want to serve you faithfully,
so strengthen me with the Spirit and keep me from sin.
In Your small Form are hidden my treasures,
let me know Your beauty, when I will live the miserable world.

[1] It is said that the miraculous signs that took place during the tortures, caused the conversion of 160 pagans.

Translated from : Kompendium III z Orędzi na Czasy Ostateczne, które własnie nadeszły (z tomow 9-16), Warszawa 2014, p 117-119